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Boeing Wanted To Wait Three Years To Fix Safety Alert on 737 Max

An anonymous reader quotes the Associated Press:
Boeing Co. planned to wait three years to fix a non-working safety alert on its 737 Max aircraft and sped up the process only after the first of two deadly crashes involving the planes. The company acknowledged that it originally planned to fix a cockpit warning light in 2020 after two key U.S. lawmakers disclosed the company’s timetable Friday…

The feature, called an angle of attack or AoA alert, warns pilots when sensors measuring the up-or-down pitch of the plane’s nose relative to oncoming air might be wrong. The sensors malfunctioned during a Lion Air flight in Indonesia in October and an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa in March, causing anti-stall software to push the planes’ noses down. Pilots were unable to regain control, and both planes crashed, killing everyone aboard — 346 people in all. It is not clear whether either crash could have been prevented if the cockpit alert had been working… Boeing and the head of the FAA both say the alert is not critical for safety. Boeing says all its planes, including the Max, give pilots all the flight information — including speed, altitude and engine performance — that they need to fly safely.

The pilots’ union at American Airlines expressed unhappiness about the matter, however, and said Boeing’s assurance about the cockpit alert was a factor in the union standing behind Boeing after the first Max crash, in October. Jason Goldberg, an American Airlines pilot and union spokesman, said Boeing told pilots that the alert could pinpoint a faulty sensor even on the ground, before takeoff. “That is one of the things that made us confident initially to make the statement that we were happy to continue to fly the aircraft,” he said. “It turned out later that that wasn’t true.”


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